Note: This post is the first of a series of posts that will be available as printed zines. These will be for sale on Etsy, so if you would like to buy this post as a zine, scroll all the way down and you will find a link to it in my Etsy store.
Consider the following 3 scenarios…
Scenario no. 1
You are waiting in line at a pizza stand. It is early in the morning, it is cold, the line is long and you’ll probably be late for work by the time you reach the front.
Why are you here? Because this is the best pizza you will ever have, or at least that is what you have been told. And because good things come to those who wait – so you’ve also been told.
Almost an entire hour has passed and you’ve considered giving up and going to work on more than one occasion, but as you approach the front of the line, the glorious smell of wood-fired crusty goodness fills your nostrils and any thoughts of leaving the line are now assuaged. You decide to wait a little longer.
Finally, the moment of truth. With great anticipation, you reach the front of the line and exchange two bank notes for a warm slice. You step aside. You take your first bite and… heaven. As strings of mozarella bridge the space between your mouth and this delectable slice of euphoria, you softly shed a tear.
You don’t even care if this experience has ruined every pizza you will ever have again. It was entirely worth the wait.
Scenario no. 2
An opportunity comes along in the form of a newspaper advertisement. Some big company is hiring and the position that has just opened happens to be the job of your dreams.
Let’s assume that you have all the necessary qualifications and that the salary offered is much more than what you currently earn. Basically, the job is perfect for you in every way. There are 3 courses of action you can take:
- Do nothing and wait for them to contact you.
- Apply for the job and prepare for the interview. Then, wait for them to contact you.
- Don’t wait. Just walk in there on Monday like you own the place and take what is rightfully yours!
(Hint: Only one of the above is likely to work.)
Scenario no. 3
You have a great idea for a novel. In fact, you are so confident in your idea that you have already planned what you will do with all the money you will make from book sales.
There is just one thing standing in the way of you and your new jet ski: You still have to write the damn book.
Obviously, waiting around will do you no good here, since that book is not going to write itself.
Which brings me to my next point…
A lot of people spend their lives in the left side of this Venn diagram (also known as the Waiting Zone), waiting for good things to come their way. And sometimes that works out for them. But because they believe in fate and nothing else, they miss out on all of the good things that fall into the grey overlapping area called Opportunities.
On the other hand, there are many people who don’t believe in luck or fate or in anything suggesting that they don’t control everything. And sometimes that works out for them too. But when an opportunity comes along and all that is required is a little patience for things to fall in place, the control freak might miss his/her chance at something great.
They say that good things come to those who wait…
And sometimes that is true, but not always.
Yes, patience is a good thing. And yes, some things are out of your control. But you have to ask yourself:
What is it that I am waiting for?
Because if you don’t know the answer to that question, it could be a sign that you are stuck in the Waiting Zone thinking that fate will determine your life’s path.
But let me tell you something: it won’t. At least not entirely.
This is good news because it means that there are parts of your life over which you alone have complete control. These things all form part of a thing that I call the Circle of Control:
Outside of the Circle of Control, is everything else. From the things that you cannot control, such as how long you wait for your pizza, your genes or the weather; to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that are waiting for you to seize them, like that dream job you want to apply for or the writing competition you’ve been meaning to enter.
The key is knowing when to wait, and when to get off your butt and do something.
If you enjoyed reading this post, there are a few things that you can do: